I once asked a young believer how he would spend the rest of his life if Jesus suddenly appeared to him with the information that he had one month to live. He giggled and said “…Well, I will quickly do what I know I won’t have the opportunity to do in heaven. So if I have just one month to go, I will get married before my time is up…”
Hmnnnh! Although this response seemed funny, I was particularly interested the fact that there are so many good things we won’t have the opportunity to do in heaven despite its glamour. If you were to answer the same question, how would your response be? Permit me to guess …
Praying and Bible reading may become more regular.
The walls of your church may easily recognize you when you are 20km away.
Church meetings may now look so short.
Your postponed kind gestures to extend to others may suddenly begin to unfold.
The poor may even feel your impact.
Your parents may suddenly be remembered for good.
The worries and fear of what your tomorrow will be may fizzle into the air.
You may exercise greater passion and attention towards your ministry.
Holiness may erupt out of your system with ease.
Your spouse may now see you as a genuine love being.
Your children may now notice the difference in the size of your right and left arm.
There may be no need for bad-mouthing and gossiping.
Prolonged anger may no longer be necessary.
You may decide to apologize to everyone you have offended in time past, and also say goodbye to grudges and resentment.
The courage to witness to that unbeliever close to you may swiftly engulf you…
You are free to draw up your list, remember I was only trying to guess. If you can identify those things you will quickly want to do if you were sure you had just a month to live, then it is high time you began to do them. Stop postponing your manifestation. Let it be real to you that you time on earth is getting shorter and shorter. “…I urge you as strangers and aliens in the world to …live such good lives among the pagans…” I Peter 2:11-12 (NIV).
When I was in the university and I got an excellent grade in a course, I was quick to say ‘Wow! Thank God the time I spent in the library was not a waste’. But when I got a poor grade, I concluded that my lecturer must have been in a bad mood when he was scoring my answers. I rarely want to be held responsible for my poor results. This attitude started some millenniums ago.
Yes! Adam showed us the way. When he ate the forbidden fruit and God questioned him, he lamented “the woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it”. As far as he was concerned, God was the initiator and his woman was the executor of the reason for his disobedience.
The same is true today. Weak minds are saying the reason why I don’t get results is because dad, uncle, boss, school, environment, opportunity, friends, spouse, etc. did not cooperate with me. Conversely, great minds have been distinguished over the years by their willingness to take charge of their lives and accept responsibility for whatever happened to them.
Most times when I have a chat with the poor, losers, bankrupt or failures, it does not take five minutes to hear them echo the names of people/events responsible for their state, though it may be the result of their actions. Maybe that is why they are where they are.
I admire the attitude of Joshua which affirms – “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. This accepts responsibilities, even when a mistake is made. Men with this attitude later find themselves in their promise land.
If you know where you are heading in life, you will find the pathway to get there in the world. Likewise, if you do not know where you are heading, the world will show you many ways to compound the existing confusion.
Jesus Christ came to the world to die for humanity and the Jews helped him to fulfill his goal by crucifying him. Interestingly, the same Jews wanted to make Jesus their king at a time, but he refused the offer because it was not his goal. If Jesus were to act like a believer of our day, he would most likely take the offer and even go to Church to share ‘his testimony’. Many of us today are celebrating distractions because we do not know where we are heading.
Do we take our luggage to the airport and plan to board the next available aircraft to wherever it is heading. No! We always have our destination in mind, which is why we are able to book for flights. If we can do this for the little things of life, how come for many believers, the ‘available’ is most times the ‘desirable’? Why are we not reaching for set goals but settling into small holes, wishing that something somehow will someday bring the right goals to our doors?
Where do you want to be in five years? What about in twenty years? Analyse all the activities going on in your life on a daily basis. Are they directed only towards accomplishing the dreams of other men or they are steps to take you to your goal?
Beloved, you may not know the name of the organ that pumps blood to your brain, but whatever it will take, know where you are heading to.
Make yourself accountable. Know that accountability is a sign of strength not weakness because it means that you have a good character. Understand that no one is beyond the need for accountability. The more you attempt to do for God, the more you need to be accountable. Trust God to help you do the right thing in private as well as in public. Think and pray about other people you can ask to be your accountability partner. As partners, ask each other the hard questions and be willing to challenge one another to remain faithful in all areas of lives. Accountability will help protect your testimony as a Christian and make you a successful witness for Christ. Be accountable to someone else before you require the same from any other person.
Pay attention to life’s details such as returning phone call or writing thank you notes. Know that if you are great in little things you will build integrity with others. Be loyal to Christ and to the people you have important relationships, such as your spouse, sibling, children and Christian friends. Show people that they can rely on you. Work diligently at your tasks, giving everything you undertake your best efforts.
Keep confidences. Strive to be a person other people can trust. When someone gives you some information on the condition that you don’t share it with anyone, make sure you don’t. Offer other people wise counsel. Live with integrity. Nurture a passionate devotional life, spending time daily reading and meditating on the Bible. Balance your life with fun. Let it be visible that you aren’t one of those stereotypical, overly serious and no-fun religious people. Give yourself permission to enjoy life and laugh at your at your own foibles.
Have courage. Refuse to back down when taking a stand is necessary. Refuse to keep quiet when speaking up is necessary. Refuse to look in the other direction whenpressing on is necessary. Never compromise your convictions. Be willing to confront people lovingly when necessary. When facing a problem or challenge, concentrate only on finding solutions. Forgive others and seek to be a peacemaker.
– gabriel ajibade
Being a person of influence to those around you require that you are a little kinder than is necessary in every situation. Treat people the way you want them to treat you (Luke 6:31). Ask God to give you genuine care and concern for people. Commit to being available to people in need and express God’s love to them. Never look down on anyone. Realize that by underestimating a person, you’re de-valuing his creator. Expect God to give you plenty of opportunities to touch people’s life. When God presents an opportunity, take it or it will be lost.
Learn to say ‘no’ with sensitivity to people’s feelings, so as not to offend them. Refuse to be negative; always strive to embrace the positive in your attitude and relationship with people. Ask God to help you discern the appropriate way to encourage people in every situation you come across. Everyone thirsts to have a taste of God’s love; this love is what you have and what you can give.
We live in an age where most believers are only committed to their education, ordination and profession, but God expects you to be committed to people.
– gabriel ajibade
No matter your station in life, you can update yourself so that you can be a person of influence to those around you. In the next few weeks, you will receive a series of articles designed to challenge you to leave “the rest” behind and move on to higher level in your walk with God. This is the first part:
Update your life by taking cognizance of how God has directed your steps, orchestrated your schedule and allowed you to experience certain things to make you more usable and stable in your walk. Understand that your only assignment is to be in God’s will at all time.
You don’t have to be particularly smart, strong or rich for God to use you. Know that God looks for faith, purity, holiness and obedience. Seek to develop those qualities. Surround yourself with the very best people, listen to them, learn from them and let them be a challenge to excite your passion to live for God. See, the world does not remember the rest, it only remembers the best.
It is a wise decision to want to know where you stand, whether you are on the path of success or not, but it is possible to do this in an unwise way. There are two common ways believers score themselves that always results to detrimental consequences.
Some believers feel they are experiencing success in life when they compare themselves with others they believe are in the same social stratification, age group or work class with them and it is as though they have an upper hand. That is why some pastors feel rosy when their church congregation is more than the one close to them and some men feel groovy when they buy luxuries their friends can’t afford.
Some other times, when believers realize that others they classify as their mate are getting results they are yet to get, they start feeling envious. That is why some ladies change the tone of their prayers when most of their friends are getting married and some men start having sleepless nights when their friends got a higher paying job, built a magnificent edifice or bought a new car.
Perhaps right now you have a keyboard and a mouse in front of you. Can you try to use the mouse to type the word “SUCCESS”? If you succeed in doing that, try using the keyboard to click on the word you typed. Yeah! Such things don’t make sense when we are dealing with objects, but don’t you wonder why they make a lot of sense with believers? How will it sound if the mouse suddenly begins to lament that ‘I cannot type’. No wonder II Corinthians 10:12 says “…When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise”.
In the story of the prodigal son, the Bible says in Luke 15:17 (NIV) that “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘how many of my father’s hired men have food to spare’. The prodigal son scored himself not with his fathers hired men but with the standard in his father’s house. The right way to know whether you are still on the path of success is to score yourself with the standard in God’s word and in view of His plan for your life, which is unique to you alone.
– tope aladenusi
Jesus Christ lived a successful life on earth. One of the reasons for this is because he is a person of consistency. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”. At every opportunity he had, he introduced his disciples into some of the secrets that guarantee success. He told them in Mark 14: 38 (NLT) to “Keep alert and pray”. To keep alert means ‘always watching and ready to notice anything strange or unusual’.
Imagine you have a very tiny pin together with other objects in your left palm and you are to take them from one end of a 20km street to the other. There is a great tendency for you to misplace the pin. Assume you check your palm every 30 seconds to see if the pin is still there, you are assured you could still locate it if peradventure it gets missing, though it is very tiny. This is because you would easily be able to decipher the point it fell, because you must have covered a very short distance in 30 seconds.
II Cor. 13:5 reads “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith”. Due to lack of regular examination, we discover areas that need adjustments in our lives when they are already strongholds. This is because a week old habit is like cobwebs while that of a year is like a cage. It is very easy to tear down cobwebs, unlike cages. A basketball coach will always look at three objects; his players, his game plan and the scoreboard. The scoreboard will always give him a hint on how to make changes in the team and also adjust his game plan. For us to experience success habitually, we have to regularly score ourselves with respect to God’s plan revealed specifically to us and his standard revealed in his word.
How should you do this? Ask questions and provide sincere answers. The prodigal son made a U-turn in his life when he asked himself the question “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” (Luke 15:17). When you ask yourself questions that begin with what, when, where, who & how, the realities of your life will begin to unfold. For example: What am I living for? How have I added value to people in the last one month? Why did I experience a decline in profit margin this year? What percentage of my time do I spend with my family?’ By the time you do something similar, you may be amazed of how many good things you have allowed to slip away. But if you are consistent with it, you will be amused of how wonderful your life is becoming. Remember, you can easily locate every pin if you have just a short distance to search. You can effortlessly destroy any habit in the similitude of a cobweb. In the journey of success, regular evaluation of our ways is necessary.
It is no new thing to see people stand today and fall tomorrow; love today, hate tomorrow; rich today, poor tomorrow; live rightly today and backslide tomorrow. Although it may be difficult to commence the journey of success, it is more difficult to remain there. The class you’ll belong to is determined by the choices you make and the series of actions you take daily. Success is not the result of a day’s event but an outcome of a chain of connected events. It is like a journey and you travel to unravel it. To experience success habitually, you have to be a person of consistency.
Consistency implies doing something regularly and steadily. A beloved pastor once gave me an analogy that has always helped me. “You don’t brush your teeth a hundred times today so you won’t brush for the next hundred days”. That will lead to tooth crash. But in our lives, at times we tend to do things superbly only for a short while. This is why some Christians were most zealous only at the period they got born-again, some organizations only flourish at inception and some couples have settled for the dogma that says ‘love is sweetest when it is new’.
The language of consistency says ‘keep doing something the way you first did it, if possible, better than when you started’. Are you speaking this language daily in your devotion, career, family, education, ministry, etc? Are you still reading your Bible and ministering to others like ‘those days’? Do you still tell your spouse ‘I love you’ like you use to do? Are you still aggressive about increasing your client portfolio or you are now disappointing the few you’ve been able to get in the past years?
Everyday is a brand new day that requires you to make a brand new choice and exhibit brand new effort. Let’s learn from Apostle Paul, “I count not myself to have apprehended…I press towards the mark” Philippians 3:14 (KJV).
Success, except followed by another, usually results to failure. So dearly beloved, Press on. Speak the language of consistency daily.
– tope aladenusi